The Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) says calls for a moratorium on 3Ps cod are wrong in the face of the evidence of stock growth, and premature given past quota reductions.
As a result of the federal government’s position on the 3Ps cod fishery, it has prompted the resignation of Derek Butler, Executive Director with ASP, as an Advisor to the Canada-France Advisory Committee.
“It’s unfortunate news that the federal mandate from DFO is to proceed with a recommendation to close the 3Ps cod fishery,” says Derek Butler, Executive Director of ASP. “Industry has been responsive to the science in following the biomass trajectory and reducing quotas, and we are committed to sustainability. But that does not mean no fishing given indications of growth.”
“DFO science says there is a good chance that if we continued with a status quo catch, which industry supported in January,” added Butler. “The probability of growth was above 50%,” he added.
In the 3Ps Groundfish Advisory with DFO and industry in January, science showed that high natural mortality and a changing ecosystem are significant factors in the current stock status, not commercial fishing. And Butler says the science shows the estimated fishing mortality rate has been relatively low since 2010 and has been decreasing since 2015.
A closure of the 3Ps cod fishery would have significant impacts on the industry, especially for plants like Icewater Seafoods Ltd. located in Arnold’s Cove, the largest employer in the town, and the largest remaining cod producer in North America. The company has recently invested in the latest cod-processing technology with full-time dedication to Atlantic cod. A closure would seriously impact that business as well as other ASP members who produce cod.